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Going with the flow

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


The Centre of Marine Ecosystems Research member Dr Kathryn McMahon joined WAMSI Kimberley Research Program scientists, Dr Oliver Berry (CSIRO) and Dr Jim Underwood (AIMS) to conduct a study into the movements of animals and plants among Kimberley reefs. The research, part of a larger collaboration involving CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Department of Fisheries, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and the WA Museum, investigated seven organisms that represent common species to infer the routine distances of dispersal and patterns of connectivity among key populations within the Kimberley.

The team looked at fine scale and broad scale patterns, including movements between the Kimberley and other regions such as the Pilbara, using genomics to investigate connectivity. Dr Berry explained the use of genomics provided a means of tracking the movement of microscopic plankton by measuring the relatedness of organisms on different reefs and from this (indirectly) estimate how far they have moved.

The findings provide important information for the design of MPA networks in the Kimberley and the management of commercial fish stock such as Trochus.

Further information on the research and program can be found at

and an update was published in the latest Kimberley Tides newsletter (


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